Category Archives: Training

Teaching training and education

Taking the first step


You have these big plans, big goals and dreams and live for the big moments in life. So where are these big moments and why does it feel that you are always on the outside of success looking in? I am now in my fifties, and was that an eye opener for me. When looking back on a life well lived, I have plenty to be thankful for, and yet if you would ask me if my life was a success, my honest response would be that I am far from being successful. Is it because I have been opting to live for big moments? When I make these statements, my husband would be the first to ask me what my definition of success then is. Is success driving the big new car, staying in the modern mansion and having this high-powered position at the end of the corporate ladder.  Well if that is my definition of success, I surely took all the wrong steps to get there.

John Maxwell in his book called: “Today Matters”, explains the concept of making the correct choices today as it determines what tomorrow would hold. It emphasize the importance of well thought through decision making and an attitude of not wasting a single day.  And in reality, it is scary how easy it is to waste time.  It might be due to the fact that we live as if we have ample supply of time. There is no though associated with the reality of death.

This is a very grim prospect and believe me I do not live with the fear of my life ending either. We all live today with thoughts and hopes for tomorrow, next week, next year and in that, we build a future orientated picture. Now this aligns with a goal orientated mindset. Working and striving to do our best and to achieve more than what we achieving today.  However, if we set the bar too high, we can get discouraged and frustrated in the process.

Let’s take for example the goal to run the Comrades in 2020.  To achieve that objective, we cannot start by running a marathon. You need to train for short distances first, stretch it as you become more comfortable, then run a few half marathons, a few at sea level and a few in the high veld and only then can you be ready to attempt the Comrades.  If the single achievement sat in running the marathon, the probability of failure and fall out would be high.  I have a friend that is training for this. She started to run a 1 km every day and did so for a month. Never running more than what she set out, and enjoyed slowly getting accustomed to the pace and the feel of it. She then started doing 2.5 km and then she participated in park runs that was 5 km and so she is on this journey to her ultimate goal. With every achievement however she celebrated success. She did not wait for the big moment, but enjoyed the smaller achievement of just getting out of bed and doing it despite all the reasons she could find to stay indoors.

Goal orientation is thus important, but it means nothing if you are not taking the right steps towards achieving it. Taking the right step means starting today, not wasting time and setting realistic and achievable success declaration points. In those success declaration points you have defined success realistically; you work diligently at achieving them and take stock as you celebrate each.

Bringing it now to project management, we find that the objective of a project is often the big moment things. The implemented software, the operational building, the trained workers. These big moment things needs to follow smaller and realistic success declaration points. Do not wait to celebrate at the end of the project, but decide today to take the first step towards a project life cycle that is built for celebrating success…and stop wasting time, get to it today.

Written by Lizette Venter August 2019

Keeping your eye on the ball

I think conflict is a reality for all project managers, and so often they are faced dealing with the impact or consequence for the decision they make during conflict situations. There are plenty of rules related to dealing with conflict but just because I am a woman, one specifically stands out, and that I need to check myself against is to NOT become emotionally involved.  Objectiveness is one of the big advantages of being a professional and priding yourself in doing the right thing. As soon as we lose objectivity we lose the ability to remove ourselves from the conflict and looking into the real issues. And when we are emotionally involved, we are definitely not objective.

sport_balls-svgI am amazed that conflict so often become personal points of race, gender, the have and don’t haves whilst the real issues are left unchecked and untreated. We debate with so much vigour our rights and justify our actions and we assume people will see the passion we have for the cause, but in reality most people on the outside look into the inner circle of conflict and see stupidity, selfishness and pride.  We miss the point and fight each other, whist we could be working together to address the problem. The win-lose or lose-lose scenario.

Take a team related sport for example. If we act selfishly we reduce the team’s potential by pegging it at an individual’s capability level. When we lose sight of the ball and try to take out our opponents, we get penalised and send to the sin bin and the entire team loses.  Why is it that we understand this so perfectly in a sports environment, but forget this in nearly every other area of our lives? How long will we ignore the real issue in hand and attack those we think oppose us by reverting to a destructive as opposed to upliftment attitude.  Sure we all in conflict and we do not always like the way we are treated, or the way we are being paid, or the way we need to work or…or…or.

Dealing with conflict requires a servant attitude. One where you remove the emotions from the situation, deal with the real issue and try to uplift others in the process.

The Office Move

My Office space

My Office space

For those of you that attended some of our Microsoft Project courses, would be reminded of an example we use, called the “Office Move”. This exercise allows you to create a schedule for a project to move offices and entailed having a proper work breakdown structure implemented with dates and resource assignment the toot. Well in May we decided to move office and as we specialise in Project Management, attached the project in a structured and purposeful way. We had to think of moving our telephone lines, cancel the short term insurance for the PABX and make sure we can fit into the new space with all of our furniture. Decisions were to be made as to what had to go and how to move, who would be getting some office hand me downs and who would be involved in the actual move. Simple right?

In the middle of it all however, was this one item, a cupboard that was the origin for plenty a debate. From the start it did not conceptually fit, but some on the team felt that, seeing we were moving into a smaller space, could do with the extra packing space. We did not reach a decision and left this so called elephant in the room. We had those that supported the cupboard to be moved, and those opposing the idea.

So after plenty of planning the big move day, the 1st of May 2015 finally arrived. As we did not have much to do, the family had to step in. So early the morning they were literally pulled from the bed to be on their post. The fact that I got them to do this was short of a miracle as the last time we moved offices they vowed never to help again. We had all the boxes packed and it was literally just a matter of dissembling and loading the furniture, move it and assembling it at our new offices. All but for that one cupboard…

The trailer arrived to pick up the last batch of furniture at our old office and there we were once again confronted by this one thing we could not reach a consensus on. After another debate, and being pushed by fatigue a decision was made to leave this cupboard behind and make a call later. Needless to say that the monument of indecisiveness is still at the old office.

In everything there is always a lesson to be learned, and so in this long story lies the realisation that indecisiveness can be quite costly. Sometimes you need to just make the call and live with it. So for those that have been to our offices in the past, find attached a few pictures of our new place. Pop in for some coffee. We would love to welcome you.